The first weekend in December we hold our annual Festival of Lights. We have breakfast with Santa; we have carriage rides to the Coe House Museum. The Coe House is open and decked out for the season. The United Methodist Church has their annual craft and bake sale, Santa makes a visit to the Depot. Later in the evening we have Festival of Lights parade and lighting of the Christmas tree downtown.
To start the tour, each traveler will pick up a passport & bakery bag from the Whistle Stop Depot or a participating destination. The passport takes the traveler to each destination which is clearly marked on the passport map to get theirpassport stamped and receive a cookie. Once they have their passport completely filled out, they return it to either the Whistle Stop or a Cookie Tour destination for a chance to win the grand prize. The grand prize is a collection of items from all the Cookie Tour destinations.
We accept 15 Cookie Tour destinations each year. This is to keep the tour manageable for the Cookie Tour passport travelers. Applications are accepted on a first come basis.
* You must complete and return the Cookie Tour Application by the appointed deadline.
* Once accepted we will provide you with passports, bakery bags, and a Cookie Tour Destination sign.
* You will provide 350 (min.) cookies and a $25 gift item (card) and be open for business frorn 10-2 on Saturday.
We promote the Cookie Tour and Festival of Lights through many social medias; we do not promote the individual businesses. The exposure this event produces is great for you and the travelers. It's a great time to have your Holiday open house and offer some special deals and advertisement.
Christmas Festival of Lights
The Christmas Festival of Lights program drew and amazing number of people into town in its first year during the Christmas season of 2010. Searching out all of the cookies they could find, visitors turned out for a marvelous day to open the Christmas season as hundreds of kids visited with Santa at the Depot, while the Fire Department collected canned goods and toys for those less fortunate during this season of giving.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the day was the “Cookie Tour”. Each family picked up their passports for the cookie tour and set out collecting cookies at 25 different locations around town and throughout the community. Whether it was just walking through downtown, or taking the horse and wagon rides to the Coe House Museum, most shuttled throughout the area seeking the stamps on their passports for a chance at the Christmas basket prizes at the Depot. With the afternoon pretty much occupied by looking for cookies, listening to music at the Depot, or simply wandering the businesses downtown, most occupied their time at one end of town or the other until the parade got underway at 4:00 p.m.
The streets were lined with people at the start of the parade with a host of creative attempts at lighting up, and sounding up, their different approaches in parade floats, all of which culminated in the lighting of the tree on the grounds of Whistlestop Park at 5:00 p.m. Hundreds of cups of hot chocolate were consumed as everyone awaited the arrival of Santa for the lighting of the tree adorned with more than 8,400 lights. At the designated time, the Mayor started the countdown as Santa made the final connection to light up the tree to applause and oooh’s and aaahh’s. As the spirit and hot chocolate warmed the hearts, Grass Lake native and Jackson County’s Rose Queen Casey McKay autographed pictures for a line of little girls inside the Depot.
An overall enjoyable day throughout Grass Lake, the spirit of Christmas was well underway thanks to the key coordination of Jennifer Crouch and Sharon Coppernoll and the crew of people that they put together to pull off another fine community event.